Step back waffles and beer – there’s an altogether finer Belgian export whetting our appetitive. Tom Muller is a typographic legend. Having crafted some of the most iconic and contemporary pieces of work for the likes of Wired mag, Lily Allen, Sony BMG Music, The Pet Shop Boys, Diesel and many more you will have visually gorged on, we’re in good company indeed to have Muller, a typographic maestro contributing to our exclusive faces.
Tom Muller is a inspiration to designers the world over, a regular voice in the design and typography conversation and evolution. When he’s not mixing grid structures with sci-fi like style in his work (and probably even when he is) you’ll find Tom taking inspiration from his other love – comics. So with the introduction out of the way, let’s kick things off with a brief Q&A…
1. HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN DESIGN?
Pretty much through my parents, who were both interior/furniture designers. I’d spend a lot of my childhood drawing in my dad’s studio whilst being surrounded by the type of books you see now sold at sites like Counter Print like Knoll catalogues (yes, the Vignelli ones, even I had no clue at the time), Ottagono and Domus etc. It was a pretty much foregone conclusion that I’d end up in a design-oriented profession really. I loved to draw as a kid and seeing the work of my parents and their contemporaries really fuelled that ambition.
Illustrations for the March 2010 issue of WIRED UK accompanying the article “Tablets of the new covenant” which investigates the rise of E-Readers and Tablets. The lead illustration incorporates elements from that issue’s cover.
2. HAS ANYTHING PARTICULAR HAD AN INFLUENCE ON YOUR DESIGN STYLE?
I’m a firm believer in Massimo Vignelli’s moto: Design is One. Looking back, my dad would tell me the same thing whilst I was studying… that I should never pigeon-hole myself and look at multiple aspects of design (although most of those conversations started with “Look Tom, there’s more out there than comics!”). My dad was a heavy Sci Fi fan (both literature and film) so aside from the design influences I’d grow up watching Logan’s Run, Silent Running, 2001, Star Wars and Alien while reading (and being read) stories of Isaac Asmimov and Ray Bradbury… So yeah, not really one thing in particular. And comics of course. Lets not forget those!
Cover design and art direction for the softcover edition of VIKING: The Long Cold Fire collection.
3. WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
Honestly, its constantly pushing for new things and finding the space within a project to innovate. Its really easy to take a brief and execute it to the exact spec from the client, but I love to find those spaces between the lines and find something unexpected, that elevates the project.
“My home set up: 15″ MacBook Pro hooked up to an external 30” Apple display, 4 external HDs for backup and storage. A Dropbox and MobileMe account for cloud storage, iPad (good for presentations), iPhone and a stack of sketchpads, Field Notes notebooks and Rotring pens.”
4. WHAT IS THE MOST SATISFYING ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
Being able to find those spaces between the lines and working WITH a client rather than FOR a client. Its a world of difference when you open up to a collaborative atmosphere to create something new. And the fact that I’ve been able to turn the work I used to do as a hobby into a job — which is an ongoing project of its own!
Watch out for Tom’s Exclusive Faces font which goes live on Monday, April 18th.